For the last six weeks, on the two week mark, I have been asking whether or not ATS has changed its mind about the covid-19 pandemic. I originally
asked what it would take to convince people to change their minds about the outbreak and then later moved on to ask whether or not any of you
had[2,3]. So far, it has been interesting: little to no one has changed their mind.
When I originally asked, with revised numbers, there were 2,754 deaths in the US from covid-19. The first patient was officially recognized in the US
on January 19th, 2020. However, there have been some recent evidence the virus was here even sooner. It has not been put through peer review yet:
so the evidence is merely been claimed, but not yet examined by other specialists. In science and medicine, this is VERY important.
The recent kerfluffle over hydroxychloroquine is a really good example of this. Hydroxychloroquine was touted as a cure for the covid-19 virus on
many, many levels and by people who are not doctors by and large. There were some claims made that were anecdotal, but no solid science behind them.
The drug is used for dealing with parasites like malaria and as an immuno suppressant for conditions like lupus. There was no trace of this as a use
for a coronavirus until someone in France claimed it worked and we were off to the races. Finally, real studies have been done. The New England
Journal of Medicine - the preeminent medical journal in the world, folks, is American - found no effect for 1,300 patients when given
hydroxychloroquine compared to those who were not. Don't trust the talking heads, folks: they often have their own agenda, even if its just
'make the other side of the fence look bad.'
As of today, over 80,000 people have officially died of the coronavirus. This is based on the data for the different states, rather than from the
Feds. The CDC data takes longer to collate and vet before release. They're just being cautious. it's not like there are any politics involved in
this, right? If we follow from the first case being January 19th (again, it might have been sooner, we're waiting to see the data, not anecdotes),
then we have had a covid-19 'season' of 111 days. This gives us a mortality rate of over 720 per day. Since I have been asking, the average deaths
per day have been over 1800. In contrast, the flu - which folks like to compare covid-19 to - killed an estimated 62,000 this year on the high
end. The flu season ran from October 1st to April 4th, lasting 187 days. This gives an average rate of death of 337 for that time frame. A
normal, but had flu season kills an average of 73,000 and lasts about 220 days. Covid has run for half that and killed more.
There are some anomalies with the data though. In NYC, death rates were far above the norm in March/April and most were not attributed to covid.
The US deaths in February were FAR above normal or at least the expected. Additionally, most of the country has been in a quarantine and testing
hasn't been done for most people. it is hard to tell if the virus has swept through people harming few or if it has yet to reach the populace: the
antibody tests are being called into question for their accuracy.
The last anomaly stands out by itself. There's a strange twist each state seems to declare people cured or not differently. NY, which has been hit
far harder than anywhere else, has had around 27,000 died and 56,000 recovered of their cases. OTOH, Texas claims it has had roughly 38k cases, has
around 1k dead and 24k recovered. NYC says they have 260k active cases and Texas claims they have 13k. This seems odd. Are we seeing different
definitions of 'cleared?' Or is it a regional difference? Or what?
Additionally, the total active cases is the US is over 1 million. The percent that recover (instead of die) has bounced between 70% and 80% for
official cases. If that holds true, then we could see as much as 300,000 more die. That doesn't count anymore people who get added to the case
count. I seriously and sincerely hope not. With the reopening of the states looking more and more likely, it remains to be seen how many more cases
there will be. One would hope we are through the worst, already, but... with as fscked up as 2020 has been so far, I'm not holding my breath.
At any rate, with all of the above, with all of it said, have you, ATSer, changed your mind about the covid-19 pandemic? Is there any chance you will
change your mind? What would it take to do so?